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DID YOU READ

Five more ’80s films that deserve a commercial homage

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Say what you will about Matthew Broderick’s “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”-inspired ad for Honda, but it got everyone talking about his 1986 debut as the slacker hero.

Given the response (mostly positive) to the ad across just about every online social network, it’s safe to say that “Matthew’s Day Off” will go down as a marketing “win” — and when that happens, companies usually take notice and scramble to replicate that success.

As I mentioned in my earlier post about the ad, there are a few other ’80s classics that might be worth revisiting in commercials, and not just because of the nostalgia factor. In some cases, the timing might be just right for a character to be paired up with a particular brand.

1. Val Kilmer shows the “Real Genius” of Apple (or Google).

There was no shortage of movies about nerds who make it big during the ’80s, but Kilmer’s take on Chris Knight made him the undisputed alpha nerd. Not only was he brilliant, but he was effortlessly cool, too — two characteristics that were rarely found in the bespectacled, awkward on-camera nerds of the time. With that in mind, how appropriate would it be to see Chris Knight trying to convince you that buying the iPad 3 is a “moral imperative”? Even better (from a marketing standpoint), have Kilmer (as Chris Knight) sell you on the long list of ways Google can better your life, then take a not-too-subtle swipe at Apple (a la Samsung). Commence flame war heated debate in 3… 2… 1…

2. Cary Elwes has an anti-piracy PSA for “The Princess Bride” fans.

Sure, he started off as the lovable Westley, but he was known the world over as the Dread Pirate Roberts. If movie studios and record labels want to counteract some of the hostility directed at their anti-piracy campaigns, why not trade some of those terrible PSAs and laughably threatening ads for a tongue-in-cheek message from a pirate everyone loves? Have Elwes don the black outfit and mask one more time to explain why people who download movies illegally should be sentenced to life in the Fire Swamp, and then just sit back and watch the message multiply like R.O.U.S. (Rodents Of Unusual Size, of course).

3. Judd Nelson brings back John Bender to promote beer… or jeans… or anything, really.

In “The Breakfast Club,” Judd Nelson almost single-handedly ushered in the grunge era with his role as drug-dealing, denim-wearing, head-banging, authority-defying John Bender. Want to give your product an edge that says “I was bad-ass before being bad-ass was cool”? Get John Bender — or rather, get a long-haired Judd Nelson, dress him in a bunch of flannel and denim (complete with fingerless gloves and unlaced work boots), and have him explain that the only people who would buy your competitor’s product are neo-maxi-zoom-dweebies.

4. Bill S. Preston, Esq. reminds you of the importance of choosing the right cellphone service provider.

Want to convince the world that you really do have the best coverage area? Get in touch with “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” actor Alex Winter (since his co-star Keanu Reeves might be a tough sell right now) and have him reprise his role as Wyld Stallyns co-frontman Bill S. Preston. Sure, they traveled in a phone booth during their “Excellent Adventure” and “Bogus Journey” days, but now they don’t even need to leave their couch to travel through time with Verizon… or AT&T… or whatever company jumps on this idea. STATION!

5. Falkor the Luck Dragon wants you to play the lottery.

If your product encourages people to try their hand at beating the odds, could there be any better spokesperson than Falkor, the furry, flying deus ex machina of “The NeverEnding Story”? Sure, the original film was aimed at children, but those kids who dreamed of being Atreyu are now adults who dream of, well… having lots of money and owning cool stuff. Some people will probably complain about the marketing campaign and say silly stuff like, “this commercial is raping my childhood” and so forth, but that’s just plain ridiculous. Everyone knows that when Falkor told Atreyu “never give up and good luck will find you,” he totally ripped that line from a Lotto ad.

What do you think of these suggestions? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.